There is nothing like a nice pair of warm mittens for fall. Leaves are falling off the trees, the rain is pouring and the winds are blowing: time for some new woolies! The Maize mitts can be knit as either fingerless mitts or full mittens. Let’s see how it’s done!
8 steps to knit the Maize mitts
- Casting on
- Working in pattern
- Placing stitches on hold on waste yarn
- Pattern: Download a copy of the free Maize pattern.
Check out our tutorial here if reading a multi-size knitting pattern is new to you.
- Yarn: for the Maize fingerless mitts you will need 50 (60, 80, 100, 140) yards worsted / aran weight yarn. For the full mittens you will need 70 (80, 120, 150, 200) yards worsted / aran weight yarn. For more information on yarns see our post on yarns here.
- Needles: For the Maize mitts you can use either double pointed needles (DPNs) or a long circular needle for the magic loop method. For more information on knitting needles check out our needle post here.
Following the directions for your size cast on 24 (28, 32, 36, 40) stitches onto 4mm / US #6 needles. For tips on casting on using DPNs check out our tutorial here. For casting on with the magic loop method see this tutorial.
Once you’ve got all your stitches cast on you will have to note the beginning of round (BOR). You can do this by placing a marker, placing a locking marker, or distributing your stitches in a certain way. For more info on how to use markers check out our marker tutorial here.
Tip: if you are using DPNs you can’t really place a marker at the beginning of a round, it would just fall off the end of the needle. I recommend distributing your stitches with about 1/2 your stitches on the first needle, and 1/4 of your stitches on the other 2 needles. This way you always know the start of the round is at the start of the ‘full’ needle.
Establish ribbing: p1, k3, (p1, k1) to end
Work a total of 12 (12, 14, 16, 18) rounds in ribbing as set.
What does it mean to work as set? There are a few different ways to put this: One way is that you are ‘knitting your knits and purling your purls’. If you see a knit stitch, knit it, if you see a purl stitch, purl it. For this particular ribbing, you are simply repeating the ribbing round.
Setup pattern: p1, k3, PM, purl 7 (9, 11, 11, 13), [k1, p1] 3 (3, 3, 5, 5) times, k1, purl to end
So you have just set up your pattern! The body of your mitten will proceed as follows: the stitches before the marker (p1, k3) will become your thumb gusset, you will be keeping the ribbed section as set (the k1, p1 part) and purling all the rest of your stitches.
Tip: If you are working with double points you may want to distribute your stitches as follows, to keep things simple.
Work 2 (2, 3, 3, 5) more rounds in pattern.
What does work in pattern mean?!
It may seem like it would be simpler if we just wrote patterns out line by line, but I assure you, knitting becomes MUCH easier when you can ‘read’ your knitting. If you know what should come next it’s easier to find mistakes (they happen to the best of us!) and even see if *gasp* there is a mistake in a pattern. I always tell my beginner classes that if you can understand what you are doing it is a LOT easier than using 3 row counters, a pen, and 5 sticky notes!
So, to work in pattern at this stage of the mitten you are going to knit the knits and purl the purls. Keeping the ribbing in tact, the 3 knit stitches at the start in stockinette, and purling the rest of the stitches, keeping them in reverse stockinette.
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Take a quick look at your hand. Your thumb sort of sticks out a bit right? Even the part of your thumb that is still a part of your hand. Well we have to make an extra little triangle of fabric to accommodate that part of your thumb.
To create this triangle of fabric we are going to work some increases. You can use whichever type of m1 stitch you like, but we’ve used this type of make 1. To be a little extra fancy we used paired increases, a m1L and m1R (make 1 left and make 1 right).
Remember those 3 knit stitches at the beginning of the round? The gusset is going to increase from those 3 knit stitches.
Round 1: p1, k1, m1, k1, m1, k1, SM, work in pattern to end
I worked this row like this: p1, k1, m1L, k1, m1R, k1, slip marker, work in pattern to end (this means we are purling, ribbing, purling)
Round 2: p1, knit to marker, SM, work in pattern to end (no stitches increased)
Round 3: p1, k1, m1, knit to 1 stitch before marker, m1, k1, SM, work in pattern to end
Round 4: p1, knit to marker, slip marker, work in pattern to end (no stitches increased)
See a pattern forming? We are increasing 2 stitches every other row and you should start to see a little triangle forming.
Work rounds 3-4 a total of 3 (3, 4, 4, 5) times. This is 6 (6, 8, 8, 10) rounds.
There are 12 (12, 14, 14, 16) sts between the BOR marker and the second marker (there will be 1 purl stitch and 11, 11, 13, 13, 15 knit stitches). [32 (36, 42, 46, 52) total sts]
Placing stitches on hold on waste yarn
Next round: p1, place the next 11 (11, 13, 13, 15) sts on waste yarn, remove 2nd marker, cast on 3 sts using backwards loop method. Work in pattern to end of round. [24 (28, 32, 36, 40) sts]
Next we are going to cast on 3 stitches in the middle of the row. Why, you ask? Because the thumb stitches ‘grew’ out of those 3 knit stitches, but then we put all the thumb stitches on hold. So we are going to need 3 new stitches to take their place. The cast on method we use is the backward loop cast-on.
For fingerless mitts:
Round 1: p11 (13, 15, 15, 17), [k1, p1] 3 (3, 3, 5, 5) times, k1, purl to end
Work round 1 until work measures 0.5 (0.5, 1, 1.25, 1.5)” from end of gusset.
Set-up ribbing: (p1, k1) around
Work 3 (4, 4, 5, 6) more rounds in ribbing as established, then bind off all sts.
For the hand you are keeping the ribbing as established and purling all other stitches. Once your mitt measures 0.5 (0.5, 1, 1.25, 1.5)” from the gusset you are going to switch to ribbing and bind off. You can work a regular bind off, or you can try binding off in pattern here. Check out our tutorial on binding off in pattern (with videos!) here.
Round 1: p11 (13, 15, 15, 17), [k1, p1] 3 (3, 3, 5, 5) times, k1, purl to end
Work round 1 until work measures 2.5 (3, 3.75, 4, 4.5)” from end of gusset [or 1 (1, 1.25, 1.5, 1.5)” short of total desired length].
For the hand you are keeping the ribbing as established and purling all other stitches. Once your mitt measures 2.5 (3, 3.75, 4, 4.5)” from the gusset you ready to start the decreases! First we have to move the marker a little to get ready.
Next: remove BOR marker, purl 2 sts and replace marker. This is the new BOR.
Now we are all set for some decreases.
Decrease set-up: p1, p2tog, p4 (6, 8, 8, 10), p2tog, PM, work 7 (7, 7, 11, 11) sts in ribbing as set, PM, p2tog, purl to last 2 sts, p2tog [4 sts dec] [20 (24, 28, 32, 36) sts]
You will have placed 2 markers and decreased 4 stitches. If p2tog (purl 2 stitches together) is new to you check out our p2tog tutorial here. Note that none of the ribbed stitches have been decreased yet, only the purl stitches.
Work the decreases as follows (if k2tog is new to you check out our tutorial here).
Round 1: purl to marker, SM, work in pattern to marker, SM, purl to end
Round 2: p1, p2tog, purl to 2 sts before marker, p2tog, SM, work in pattern to marker, SM, p2tog, purl to last 2 sts, p2tog [4 sts dec]
Work rounds 1-2 a total of 1 (2, 3, 3, 4) times. [16 (16, 16, 20, 20) sts]
Next round: p1, (p2tog) twice, k1, (k2tog) 3 (3, 3, 5, 5) times, (p2tog) twice [9 (9, 9, 11, 11) sts]
Once you are down to 9 (9, 9, 11, 11) stitches, break yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail. Thread tail through remaining live sts (removing markers) and pull tight to close top of mitten.
Next we are going to knit the tiny little tube for the thumb.
- Place 11 (11, 13, 13, 15) held sts back on needles, then remove the waste yarn.
- Pick up and knit 3 stitches from those 3 stitches you cast on earlier.
- Knit around held stitches to end of round and place marker. [14 (14, 16, 16, 18) sts]
Pick up and knit 3 sts in the cast-on sts.
Knit around held sts to end of round. PM [14 (14, 16, 16, 18) sts]
You now have all your thumb stitches on your needles.
For fingerless mitts: knit all rounds until thumb measures 0.5 (0.5, 0.75, 1, 1)”. Bind off.
For mittens: knit all rounds until thumb measures 1 (1.5, 1.5, 1.75, 2)”, or 0.25″ short of desired length.
Decrease round: k2tog around [6 (6, 7, 7, 8) sts]
Break yarn, leaving 6 inch tail. Thread tail through remaining live stitches and pull tight to close thumb.
You may have a small hole where your stitches are picked up. Just use your yarn tail and stitch up the hole before weaving in your ends.
This tutorial is part of The Simple Collection – our 100% free learn-to-knit series. Check out the fabulous free patterns sized from baby to big, and get started making modern seamless knits for the entire family!
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